One of Canada’s foremost experts in industrial hemp and a sought-after speaker on the subject, Ruth Shamai started working with hemp in the early 1990s.
“Hemp is a plant that can have tremendous benefits for our farmers, our environment, our economy – and our personal health,” Ruth said. “The versatility of hemp makes it ideal for a wide range of products from food, to clothing to building materials, car parts and carpets to kitty litter. When I first realized the significance of hemp, it wasn’t legal to grow in Canada, but we’ve made great progress since then.”
Ruth was active in the lobby of leading environmentalists, agriculture experts and entrepreneurs that helped legalize industrial hemp in Canada. Her colleagues worked diligently for several years to make the benefits of hemp available to North American consumers. Originally a technical writer and software trainer, she leveraged her natural curiosity, patience and perseverance to launching hemp as a new category in the food industry.
“I’ve always been interested in healthy foods,” Ruth said. “When my research identified the significant nutritional benefits of the hemp seed, I knew I’d found my calling!”
She launched Ruth’s Hemp Foods in 1999 to develop a wide range of reasonably priced, GMO-free, plant-based foods that would have the added benefits of hemp’s essential fatty acids and high quality protein.
Ruth’s Hemp Foods now manufactures hemp-based protein powders, Omega Burgers, Hemp Bars, Hemp Salad Dressings, Hemp Oil, SoftHempTM (certified organic shelled hemp seed), and other hemp food products. They are distributed across all channels in Canada, and are just starting to gain distribution in the United States.
Although passionate about hemp, Ruth avoids the hype associated with the crop. “Just being the serious, practical person that I am has its own rewards. I want to spread awareness of hemp nutrition that is based on sound research,” she said. “My company’s mission is to develop delicious foods that contain a maximum amount of hemp while remaining at a competitive price point, so that hemp becomes regular part of peoples’ diets.”